13 January, 2022

smartclip 2021 Year in Review

Reflecting on a remarkable 12 months despite overwhelming difficulties surrounding COVID.

2021 has been a truly outstanding year for smartclip. As we reflect on our achievements in the face of these difficult times, we could not be prouder of what our colleagues, partners, and clients have accomplished over the past twelve months. 

Here are some highlights… 

We unveiled our brand refresh 

At the beginning of the year, we publicly launched our new core branding, website, and unique product tone of voice. The look, feel, and tone is truly unlike anything in our category.

Our new branding reflects who we are and what we stand for — the only European-grown adtech and media sales company that breaks down walled gardens by offering local, non-monopolised video marketplace alternatives. 

We formed new partnerships with media heroes across Europe

We onboarded an array of new monetisation partners. This included household names in the broadcasting world such as Rai Pubblicità in Italy and RTL Nederland in the Netherlands (the first international broadcaster to use our full tech stack). We also partnered with international streaming services and publishers including Deezer, rlaxx TV, and Tastemade, as well as a new audio partner NSound in Italy. In Germany, the Audio Alliance was fully onboarded to the smartx platform. The Audio Alliance develops and produces new podcasts and audio-on-demand offerings for partners of the Bertelsmann Content Alliance including: RTL Deutschland, RTL Radio Deutschland, UFA, Penguin Random House, Gruner + Jahr, and BMG.

In the DACH region, we expanded our cooperation with Goldbach CH and started a brand-new cooperation with Goldbach AT for Online Video (i.e. Connected TV, In-Stream, Out-Stream) in Austria.

In Sweden, we were chosen as the tech partner by the Premium Video Alliance  — a joint initiative between TV4, Nent Group, and Discovery Networks that offers a common marketplace via the smartx platform. The alliance makes premium Broadcaster Video-on-Demand (BVOD) supply more accessible via programmatic buying and is a local, brand-safe, and transparent alternative to YouTube and Facebook.

smartclip SME also grew significantly in 2021. The specialised business unit — which offers dedicated advertising support and advice to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) — onboarded over 200 new SME reseller partners and successfully expanded the business to Austria and Switzerland. 

Over the course of the year, we also simplified the legal setup for international publishers and streamlined the integration process for pan-European offerings. Furthermore, we extended our partnership with RTL AdConnect and grew our presence across European markets.

We co-founded TechAlliance 

We announced a joint agreement with Amobee to form TechAlliance, the industry’s first end-to-end, broadcaster-centric, cross-screen advertising platform. 

This transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, and is expected to be finalised in the first quarter of calendar year 2022. Design intended for visualisation purposes only. Platform user interface subject to operational launch.

TechAlliance is expected to provide European broadcasters with the ability to both tailor and accelerate the digitised buying experience for brands and agencies by offering them exclusive programmatic access to their premium TV inventory. This will include addressable advertisements within the linear ad break as well as the more established display ad formats within linear TV programme content.

Find out more about this landmark joint-venture here

We expanded our reach and product offerings 

By growing existing and new publisher cooperations, our Connected TV reach across European markets grew by a total of 234%. 

In terms of Addressable TV (ATV), the ATV Spot advertising format — which involves the insertion of targeted ads into any position within the traditional TV ad break — gained traction in the German market and we made preparations for a 2022 launch in Spain. 

In Italy, we partnered with Mediaplus Group, Orogel S.p.A, and ClimatePartner to launch the World’s First Carbon Neutral Ad Break — showing innovative new ways to use ATV formats in climate-neutral advertising.  

World’s First Carbon Neutral Ad Break

We also became one of the first adtech companies in Italy to monetise audio versions of written articles and stories, thanks to our new partner and text-to-speech expert, NSound. 

Our Out-Stream offering grew with two new ad formats including the fully responsive In-Text Choose Ad and the captivating In-Text Parallax Video Ad.

We grew our technology stack 

We continued to innovate and grow our technology with several new products and feature enhancements. Some of our favourites include: 

1. Advances to prepare for the depreciation of third-party cookies 

  • Vegan Ads – a new privacy-compliant solution that enables the delivery of targeted advertisements to users without using cookies, device identifiers, or other personally identifiable information that is connected to a user. With Vegan Ads, publishers can monetise inventory without accessing or storing users’ personal information, as well as prevent downstream partners from meddling with user data. 
  • smart Context – a new brand safety and contextual targeting solution that enables advertisers to apply targeting tactics based on the contents of a web page.

2. New hybrid solutions for broadcasters to go digital

  • Content Sensitivity Initiatives – give broadcasters more control over the type of ads that run on their inventory. This includes support for the IAB Tech Lab’s Video Multiple Ad Playlist (VMAP) specification, an MRSS feed, and an enhanced Ad Rules module in smartx.
  • Launch of Self-Service Segment Builder – enables campaign targeting for both ATV and online video.

3. Enhanced viewability measurement capabilities and ad verification tools for publishers

  • OM SDK Certification – we became one of the first companies to receive the IAB Tech Lab’s Open Measurement Software Development Kit (OM SDK) certification for Web Video, enabling our SDK to officially support the new standard for ad verification and viewability measurement.
  • Creative Approval – is a tool that enables publishers to approve and reject the advertisements that run on their inventory, providing more granular control to protect their brand and improve user experience. 

We shared our knowledge in 107 articles and at more than 28 industry events

Despite the pandemic and yet another year mostly spent in remote working environments, we did not let that prevent us from sharing our hard-won knowledge across media outlets and at major (virtual) industry events across Europe. 

We hosted several of our own events this year. Our second annual Virtual European Broadcaster Adtech VEBA Summit was filmed live in Cologne at RTL TV studios. 

VEBA is an exclusive, international forum for exchanging knowledge, where broadcasters and adtech experts can come together to share industry knowledge and opinions, and discuss key developments within the European TV market. 

We also launched our first annual Product Advisory Board PAB Meeting, which took place in Milan this year. PAB is an exclusive meeting to discuss the future of TV advertising across the continent — with the aim to strategically align EU broadcasters. And finally, we hosted an Identity Breakfast in Milan where we discussed current and future identity solutions beyond third-party cookies.

We published a major cross-European Addressable TV Advertising research report 

We interviewed over 40 industry experts, from 30 companies, across 16 countries to create a resource that brands and agencies can turn to for all questions relating to Addressable TV (ATV) advertising. 

The detailed analysis provides an overview of the latest ATV advertising developments across Europe and points to best practices for brands and agencies on how to successfully buy and apply ATV advertising. 

You can download a copy here or request a print edition by contacting marketing@smartclip.tv.   

We grew our team, our minds, and our muscles   

We welcomed 36 new smartclippers! This has included new leadership with the hire of Halvard Kristiansen (Managing Director Nordics | Demand & Advertising Partnerships), Michael Zeiler (Senior Director Market Development Europe), Robert Scharni (Director Programmatic Integrations smartclip Europe), Gunnar Gundersen (Head Of Business Development Nordic smartclip Nordics), and Stig Jøssund (Head of Sales Norway smartclip Nordics).

With a growing team, we decided to further invest in growing our internal knowledge-sharing events, educational opportunities, and newbies activities including: 

  • smartweek – a dedicated week of knowledge exchange and peer-to-peer training. 
  • Strategy Days – a unique team event designed to offer employees insights into smartclip’s company strategy and learn more about our business partners.
  • Your Campus – a learning initiative by Bertelsmann University designed to promote knowledge sharing and foster exchange between all Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA entities.
  • Your Campus Digital & Tech – a Bertelsmann University initiative designed to promote knowledge sharing within the Bertelsmann universe and offer insights into a wide range of technical topics.
  • Udacity Technology Scholarship Programme – a total of 27 smartclippers received a scholarship to grow their knowledge and gain valuable insights into Cloud, Data, or AI skills. 
  • smartclip Rookies Event – a virtual meet-and-greet for new smartclippers.   

We also formed a new DEI committee to champion a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Given the challenging circumstances surrounding COVID and our new work from home reality, we also formed a new committee to focus on advancing topics of general wellbeing. 

Some of the new wellbeing initiatives have included:

Onwards! 

Thank you to our colleagues, partners, and clients for making this year a huge success despite difficult circumstances. We look forward to bringing the industry innovative new products and learnings in 2022. 

Have questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out info@smartclip.tv.

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Shira Leffel

Shira Leffel is the Executive Director Europe Marketing and is responsible for leading the central European marketing department at smartclip. She has lived and worked in the United States, Canada, Israel, Mozambique, Brazil, and now Germany. Shira comes with extensive experience in marketing for B2B technology startups. She has built out marketing teams and strategies—her core expertise lies in content strategy, most notably inbound content marketing. Shira graduated Summa Cum Laude and First in Class with an M.A. from Tel Aviv University, and First Class Honours with a B.A. from the University of British Columbia.

Shira Leffel
Executive Director Europe | Marketing

Lisa-Theresia Rischke is the Head of Brand at smartclip Europe and responsible for the smartclip brand. She leads the design team and oversees collateral, social media, and strategic content marketing initiatives across Europe. 

Lisa Rischke
Head of Brand